A form of therapeutic horticulture that has been shown to significantly increase a person’s sense of mental well-being and satisfaction, gardening is one of the best activities recovering addicts can use to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Research indicates that gardening not only encourages physical activity but also:
- Increases levels of vitamin D by exposing people to sunlight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Helps mitigate symptoms of PTSD
- Enhances feelings of self-worth and self-esteem
For individuals in recovery, gardening can be a rewarding challenge that complements finding purpose in their lives, offers the ability to set and achieve goals, and contributes to experiencing a fulfilling awareness of responsibility.
Gardening as Therapeutic Treatment During Addiction Recovery
Enriching your psychological, emotional, and physical health is vital to maintaining sobriety and overcoming addiction. Many addicts in recovery say that the first year after completing a residential treatment program for substance abuse is the most difficult.
Transitioning from the structured environment of an inpatient center, navigating the world without using drugs or alcohol, and taking responsibility for themselves naturally causes anxiety and doubt. Creating a garden, planting seeds, and nurturing the vegetables or flowers that flourish from something you and you alone brought into existence can give you a sense of accomplishment and self-discipline that will substantially contribute to your recovery.
Gardening in addiction recovery can be done whether you live in an apartment or a home with a backyard. For those who cannot garden outside, here are tips for growing a hanging vegetable garden inside your residence:
Growing Your Own Hanging Vegetable Garden
Use only sturdy baskets that are at least 12 inches deep and 17 inches wide. Fill them with high-quality potting soil and plant seeds or seedlings (your preference) according to package instructions. Sow pea vines and other small vegetable plants around the basket’s edge. For cucumber, tomato, and larger plants, stick to one plant per basket.
Make sure plant hooks from which you hang your baskets are securely embedded in the ceiling. If possible, hang something as heavy as a vegetable basket on a hook and leave it hanging for about an hour. If it doesn’t fall, you’re set.
Don’t water baskets until after you’ve hung them. Watering them increases their weight by as much as four or five pounds and makes it harder to hang them.
Sprinkle one teaspoon of vegetable plant fertilizer on potting soil once a week. Water afterward to ensure fertilizer is adequately leached and reaches plant roots.
Remember to rotate baskets periodically so that all sides of your plants receive sunlight and one-sided “crowding” doesn’t occur. Harvesting your vegetables as soon as they ripen encourages more vegetable growth.
Addiction Treatment is Available from Hickory Treatment Centers
Addiction recovery begins with admitting your addiction and entering a residential treatment program. Hickory Treatment Centers can help you or someone you know take that first, important step toward recovery. Call today to learn more about our services.